An Interview with Fethullah Gülen

The modern world and contemporary systems of thought claim that for the first time in history individuals have become the true, active subjects of their lives and their actions. According to these modern systems of thought, individuals have depended on the traditions that have come down from the past to the present day, imprisoning themselves within the limits of these traditions. Since the group attitude has become the norm, and as it is not possible to change the established standards of communal life, it has been the destiny of individuals to remain only passive, obedient members of the community. In the modern age, they have finally started to free themselves from this imprisonment, acquiring their individual personalities. Until the modern age, individuals were not free and were not independent. Although these thoughts on individualism are true for some cultures and some regions of the world, they are not true for every religion, for every thought, and for every community. From the perspective of Tawhid, which is the main principle of the unity of God in Islam, it is impossible to have unrestricted individualism. This is because humans are either both free with no acceptance of any moral values and rebellious with no moral criteria, or they are servants who are dependent on God and seriously obedient to His commands. Through being obedient servants of God, the individuals will not bow before any power and will not sacrifice an ounce of their freedom.